Descendants of Captain Arthur Fenner

Richard C. Fenner & Lottie Gruszczynski

 

[b 26 Dec. 1928 at Sturgis, MI; d 25 Oct. 2005 in Kalamazoo, MI] Richard C. Fenner ("Doc") and his family lived almost three miles east of Union City, MI, but then moved to Bronson, MI and lived there for several years before settling on Deno Road in Colon, MI. On 3 May 1946, after he finished high school, Doc joined the Navy as a part of the Holloway Program, which was intended to recruit new pilots after WWII. As part of his officer training program, he attended two years of college at the Lawrence Institute of Technology in Detroit, Michigan. While in Detroit, he met and married Lottie Gruszczynski [b 28 Dec. 1929 in Detroit, MI], daughter of Joseph Gruszczynski and Stella Cwiakala, on 14 Feb. 1948. On 4 June 1950, Doc became the youngest Navy pilot in the U.S. 

Doc was sent to the Far East in June of 1950 with the VP-47 on Patrol Duty of the Pacific. While he was away, Lottie gave birth to their first child, Diana, in Detroit on 14 July 1950. In September of 1950, the United States entered the Korean War. Before the declaration of war, all of his squadron’s armor and artillery had been sent to the Philippines, so each pilot only had a 45 caliber pistol and four bombs for his plane. For a while, some squadrons had to resort to using depth charges as bombs.

Upon his return to the United States in late 1950, he was sent to Naval Air Station Pensacola, FL, then to N.A.S. Corpus Christi, TX for about three months, then brief stints at N.A.S. Coronado (San Diego) and N.A.S. Alameda in California, then back to N.A.S. Pensacola. While in Pensacola, they had their second child, Richard, on 18 Oct. 1953. Doc was co-pilot of the first T-34 Mentor, and he was also co-pilot of the first P-3 Demonstrator. In 1953, he was one of three men in charge of selecting the P-3 as the official Navy training plane, which was used by the Navy for more than forty years.

Doc was transferred to N.A.S. Brunswick, GA for instruction in blimp flying, then spent two and a half years flying blimps at N.A.S. Lakehurst, NJ at a time when blimp development was highly classified. One of the blimps that he flew was the ZPG-3, which set a world record for flying eleven days without refueling. While in Lakehurst, they had their third child, Nancy, on 29 Aug. 1956.

Lottie (front), with Cindy, Nancy, Richard, Diana, 2 Jan. 2016.

Lottie (front), with Cindy, Nancy, Richard, Diana, 2 Jan. 2016.

The family then moved to Jacksonville, FL, where Doc oversaw the training of six flight squadrons. Richard and Lottie had their fourth child, Cindy, on 7 Nov. 1958. The family moved again to N.A.S. Minneapolis, MN in 1963, then to N.A.S. Atlanta (Marietta), GA in 1966. Under Doc's guidance, the squadrons at Marietta went from being extremely low-ranked to being the top-ranked squadrons in the nation. One of the squadrons won the Conway Trophy for being the best anti-sub squadron in the United States. After Doc retired in 1969 at the rank of Lieutenant Commander, the family settled in settled in Portage, MI.

1. Diana May [b 14 July 1950 at Detroit, MI] m Roger Stubig.
2. Rev. Richard Gary [b 18 Oct. 1953 at Pensacola, FL] m Gerri Emmons. 
3. Nancy Marcy Ann [b 29 Aug. 1956 at Lakehurst, NJ] m Ken Moore.
4. Cindy Gail [b 7 Nov. 1958 Jacksonville, FL] m 1st Frank Loedeman, m 2nd Paul Eggers.


Lineage:
Arthur | Thomas | Thomas | Daniel | Thomas | William | Nathaniel Collins | Corydon | Nelson | Homer | Richard

Sources:
a. Oral history presentation by Richard C. and Lottie Fenner, Dec. 2003, plus other interviews.